Free cannabis in prisons to help prisoners overcome their drug problems
A police chief in North Wales is calling for free cannabis to sentenced prisoners to help them overcome their drug problems but also to reduce prison violence. Commissioner Arfon Jones, former police inspector, said the radical idea could also reduce overdose deaths in prisons. Overdoses often due to the use of synthetic drugs.
Speaking in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Mr Jones said that if law enforcement authorities are serious about reducing harm and violence in prisons, "they should tackle the causes" such as Spice: synthetic drug cheap that is rampant and can be fatal, as opposed to cannabis.
The use of illegal drugs is rampant in prisons and many prisoners are legally given heroin substitutes such as methadone and buprenorphine to manage their addiction. Others are commonly prescribed, including strong pain relievers such as pregabalin and gabapentinoids, all of which are addictive and potentially dangerous drugs.
Last month, the Guardian revealed that more than 300 prison officers and outside staff have been fired or convicted for bringing prohibited items - which can include drugs, tobacco and cell phones, to prisons across England and Wales over the past five years.
If they are on opioids, why can't they be prescribed cannabis?
In the UK, the recreational use of cannabis is prohibited by law, but its medical use has been legalized. But, according to Jones, access to full extraction oil through the NHS is practically impossible.
Mr Jones said, “Opioids are a hell of a lot more dangerous than cannabis. “If they're on opioids, why can't we prescribe them cannabis? Let's provide cannabis under controlled conditions and see if the infractions go down. The goal of this game is to make the prisons safer. If they really want to reduce violence in prisons, they have to tackle the root causes, that is, psychoactive substances. In addition, there is a whole host of issues that cannabis should aim to address. reduce the risks" page (in French).
The recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in the UK, but the plant has been legalized for medical use, albeit with significant restrictions.
The idea of testing cannabis for free in prisons was launched in 2018 by pharmacologist Dr Stephanie Sharp. She said letting prisoners smoke Spice was "to sentence them to death" and then letting them smoke cannabis would be "much safer."
More generally, Mr Jones also called for cannabis to be regulated in order to put an end to organized crime and to allow people to cultivate a limited amount of it for their personal use.
He believes that prohibition is counterproductive and that it should be controlled legally, just like alcohol and tobacco which cause more damage to individuals and to society in general.
He added: “It is absurd to criminalize people who use cannabis for recreational purposes and who do not cause harm to others. The best way to reduce the role of organized crime in the drug supply is to put it in commercial hands and price it appropriately so people don't have to go to the illegal market.
“Business organizations have taken control of the medicinal cannabis market and sell prescriptions at a very high price when growing it is inexpensive. It is only exploitation in my opinion. I think people should be allowed to grow a limited number of cannabis plants for their own use ”.